The start of a new season – hope springs anew and optimism abounds. No one has lost and no one has won. It is a glorious time of year in every sport, and tonight it is college football’s turn. The pageantry, the passion, the rivalries and the traditions will once again be played out in the coming months. A season of individual games that in the end will create a final, full picture.
However, in just a few hours the temptation will arise amongst fans and pundits, as well as in the hearts of some players and coaches, to declare a season “over”. It is an inescapable truth – half the teams will win and half will loose each and every weekend. How one builds on the results of each game is what determines a season. It is the sum of all the games, not an individual game, that counts in the end. Making long term decisions on short term facts is not a winning formula. Extrapolating one event to predict a final outcome is not sound science and it is not a sound way to look at a season long campaign.
Leaders and winners take the long view – no solitary event defines the greater whole. The temptation is high in college football, much as it is in life, to let one event set the tone. The big play, the one game – that one loss. Rarely is it one single event that makes the season. Rather it is how the team handles the highs and the lows, the wins and the losses, the practices and preparation, that determines the season.
The question for us all is how we approach each new day, each new challenge in business and life – how we approach our “seasons” and “games”. Allowing one event to set the tone is never wise. Building on the momentum of a win is great, just as drawing motivation from a defeat is wise. However, it is all about focus, about never loosing sight of the end goal, of building a body of work.
Tonight is just the start in a long season for every team. Though the morning after is tough for those that loose, it is the next game that is the next opportunity to win. Approaching every individual event as a chance to win is what allows one to overcome and persevere, and typically results in more wins that loses in the final analysis. Starting a new season is a moment of optimism and hope, of opportunity and potential. And yes, a new season means that maybe the Illini can get back to Pasadena…maybe.